New analysis of COVID-19 mortality rates released

Media Release

New insights into the four waves of the COVID-19 pandemic are now available in the Provisional Mortality Statistics report, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Lauren Moran, ABS Director of Health and Vital Statistics, said this analysis offers detailed information about how the pandemic has impacted people. While almost all COVID-related deaths (99%) in the first year of the pandemic had COVID-19 recorded as the underlying cause, this had fallen to 72% by August 2022. Nearly 80% of deaths from COVID-19 have occurred during the Omicron wave.

“COVID-19 mortality during the pandemic disproportionately affected older people, with deaths among people aged 80-89 accounting for the highest proportion of deaths across all waves."

The first wave and the Delta wave had a younger age distribution for mortality compared to the second wave and Omicron wave. Over half of the deaths during the Delta wave were among people aged under 80, with over a quarter aged under 70. By comparison, around 30 per cent were aged under 80 and 10 per cent were under 70 during the Omicron wave.

“During the Delta wave Australians born overseas had a rate of death close to 4 times higher than that of people born in Australia, with rates particularly high for those born in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe," Ms Moran said.

"The disparity decreased during the Omicron wave, and since July 2022 the death rate of those born in Australia has been higher."

COVID-19 mortality rates across all waves have been highest among people from areas of greatest disadvantage, with the highest proportion during the Delta wave at around 40 per cent. This proportion has fallen to around 30 per cent during the Omicron wave.

Comprehensive data and analysis is available for download on the ABS website.

Media notes

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